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WordPress is the most used content management system (CMS) in the world. But is it the best? For your current project, it might not be. 

If you’re curious about what the best WordPress alternatives are, keep reading. We’ve compared 6 of the top content management systems and website builders on the market today.

Do You Need a Different Website Builder Besides WordPress?

People flock to WordPress because it offers the most power and flexibility when it comes to website builders. Anything you can dream up, you can build it with WordPress.

But you might not need all of that control or that many options. And while you can still build smaller, less complex websites with WordPress, you might be feeling overwhelmed by everything else going on within the CMS. 

There are other reasons why people seek out alternatives to WordPress, too. For instance:

Usability

One of the major reasons people seek out WordPress competitors is the learning curve when using the CMS for the first time. 

WordPress is one of the oldest content management systems and, yet, hasn’t updated its interface or functionality in a very long time. Unlike newer drag-and-drop builders, WordPress can seem counterintuitive and clunky.

Maintenance

Another reason for the reluctance to use WordPress is the maintenance and upkeep. 

Hosted website builders like Wix and Squarespace take care of the technical backend maintenance, like backups, software updates as well as speed and security optimizations. With WordPress, they are all your responsibility.

Cost

WordPress itself is free to use. However, you can’t have a WordPress website without a domain name and web hosting. What’s more, it’s near-impossible to design a feature-rich and great-looking site without a premium WordPress theme and a handful of plugins. 

Costs can quickly add up and vary over time vs. the flat monthly fee that most other website builders charge.

6 Best WordPress Alternatives and Competitors

Choosing a website builder is a lot like choosing a car. You can probably live without certain features and compromise a bit on how it looks or feels, but the ideal situation is to get everything you’re looking for out of the box. 

Just like cars, there’s a ton of variation when it comes to website builders. To help you make sense of the differences, we’ve highlighted the key features, pros and cons, as well as the main reasons why you might want to use each of the 6 WordPress alternatives below:

1. Ghost

Best for building blogs and publications

Ghost is a content management system used for building blogs and other online publicationsGhost is a content management system used for building blogs and other online publications

Top features: 

  • Distraction-free blogging interface
  • Native newsletter and subscription-building tools
  • Content creator focus and features

Ghost and WordPress are similar in a lot of ways. For starters, they both began as blogging platforms. While WordPress has moved on, Ghost continues to specialize as a builder for content-driven websites.

The Ghost editor also resembles WordPress’s Gutenberg. So if you’re a fan of the distraction-free writing space, Ghost has what you need. 

Keep in mind, though, that Ghost is made for content creators — bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, digital publications, etc. So the tools given to you (which include themes, content widgets, and integrations) are limited to those needed for content creation. 

While you might be able to piece together a small business website using Ghost’s integrations, you’d be better off using another one of the WordPress alternatives in this list.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a heavy emphasis on newsletters and subscriptions in Ghost. So if you like the idea of platforms like Medium or Substack, but want more control over the look of your publication, Ghost is a great option. It makes it easy to add conversion elements like subscriber forms, manage your memberships, and analyze your publication’s performance.

Discover more about Ghost: 

2. HubSpot CMS

Best for building lead-generating business websites and landing pages

HubSpot is a well-known CRM. HubSpot CMS is the Content Hub tool used to build websites, landing pages, and other types of content for marketing and sales.HubSpot is a well-known CRM. HubSpot CMS is the Content Hub tool used to build websites, landing pages, and other types of content for marketing and sales.HubSpot is a well-known CRM. HubSpot CMS is the Content Hub tool used to build websites, landing pages, and other types of content for marketing and sales.

Top features: 

  • Drag-and-drop visual editor
  • Effective lead generation tools
  • HubSpot marketing, sales, and customer service product integration

HubSpot CMS is advertised as a free website builder. While that’s technically true, the real value lies in HubSpot’s customer relationship management (CRM) tools:

  • Sales Hub: Manage contacts, leads, and sales funnels.
  • Marketing Hub: Craft multi-channel marketing campaigns to increase lead generation.
  • Service Hub: Use customer service tools to improve the user experience as well as customer retention.

If you have no intention of using any of these tools, then look for another CMS. 

It’s not that HubSpot CMS isn’t an intuitive website builder. The visual editor and drag-and-drop widgets make it easy to design the pages of your website. What’s more, the editor isn’t full of settings or features you’ll never use. 

It’s also worth noting that while HubSpot’s own themes aren’t great, you’ll find hundreds of amazing looking themes designed for HubSpot CMS in ThemeForest

However, the free version of this CMS is limited. Some parts of your website will contain HubSpot branding. There are also restrictions on how many pages you can build. Features are limited, too. So if you’re interested in dynamic content, A/B testing, advanced customizations, workflows, or accepting payments, you’ll need to go pro. 

That said, if you’re planning to use HubSpot’s other tools to grow and scale your business online, this CMS would be worth the investment. 

Discover more about HubSpot CMS: 

3. Shopify

Best for building ecommerce websites and marketplaces

Shopify is the leading solution for building ecommerce websites and selling physical goods on the internetShopify is the leading solution for building ecommerce websites and selling physical goods on the internetShopify is the leading solution for building ecommerce websites and selling physical goods on the internet

Top features: 

  • Product, inventory, and customer management
  • Sales channel options and management
  • Shopify Payments setup

Shopify is the leading ecommerce platform amongst the top 1 million websites around the world, according to BuiltWith. There are loads of reasons why this is the best alternative to WordPress when it comes to ecommerce, especially when selling physical products en masse.

While WordPress has its own ecommerce technology in WooCommerce, it’s not necessarily the easiest to use. Plus, it’s not native to the platform. An additional plugin — and, often, premium extensions — are needed in order to build a fully-functioning online shop.

Shopify is entirely built for selling. 

It starts with an onboarding questionnaire that wants to know all about your shop, where you plan to sell, your products or services, and so on. At the end of that form, Shopify gets you started with creating your first product.

There are basic website building tools available as well as more than 80 themes in the Shopify store. However, it’s clear when you’re in this website builder that sales is the primary goal. 

You’ll have control over: 

  • Products
  • Inventory
  • Customers
  • Discounts and promotions
  • Payments
  • Gift cards
  • Marketing channel integration
  • And more

That said, if your goal is to build a bustling business website or blog and then to add an ecommerce shop to it, you’d be better off building the site with a different CMS. Shopify handles shop-building well, but is limited when it comes to everything else.

Discover more about Shopify: 

4. Squarespace

Best for SMBs that want to sell digital goods and services

Squarespace is a popular drag-and-drop website builder for online businessesSquarespace is a popular drag-and-drop website builder for online businessesSquarespace is a popular drag-and-drop website builder for online businesses

Top features: 

  • Intuitive visual editor
  • Beautiful website templates made for wide range of niches
  • Digital sales features and integrations

Squarespace is a no-code, drag-and-drop website builder that’s perfect for small and medium-sized businesses. 

While Shopify is the ideal solution for physical product-based ecommerce, Squarespace is a good alternative for selling other things. For example: 

  • Virtual services
  • Digital downloads
  • Premium content
  • Gift cards
  • Subscriptions
  • Memberships
  • Courses
  • Paid appointments

Squarespace is all about making it fast and easy to build a new business website. It comes with an easy-to-use visual editor and has a simplified toolbar that allows users to intuitively move in and out of pages and different parts of their sites. 

There’s a tradeoff with all this ease of use though. While you can customize every inch of your template and site, Squarespace’s customization options are limited (which is common with this type of website builder). 

If you’re a web designer looking to create a truly custom experience, this might not be the CMS for you. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a tool that enables you to quickly build and launch websites, Squarespace is a good choice. It’s also a good option if you have clients who want to update their content but are worried about it being too complex to do so.

Discover more about Squarespace:

5. Webflow

Best for building websites for larger businesses and enterprises

Webflow is an advanced content management system for professional designers and agenciesWebflow is an advanced content management system for professional designers and agenciesWebflow is an advanced content management system for professional designers and agencies

Top features: 

  • Advanced CSS styling without the need for coding
  • Built-in collaboration and handoff tools
  • Professional design features like workflows, reusable components, and more

Webflow is an advanced, no-code website builder that’s great for agencies and freelance designers looking for more granular control over their work. While business owners and other laypersons can use Webflow, its robust customization capabilities may be too much. 

With Webflow, you can build everything from simple, static websites to high-impact enterprise websites. However, it would be a waste to use Webflow for anything but the latter. 

This visual editor allows you to fine-tune every aspect of your website and much more. For instance, you can: 

  • Use CSS style settings to define exactly how you want your elements to look.
  • Create complex animations and make pretty much any element interactive.
  • Create reusable components to improve design consistency and work faster.
  • Organize your media assets.
  • Integrate with apps that simplify marketing automation, content creation, ecommerce, and so on.
  • Develop automated workflows with custom triggers.

Another reason why this CMS is best used by professional designers and agencies is because of its collaboration capabilities. 

You can set user privileges and collaborate with your team in real time. Also, you’re able to hand off designs (and the clean code automatically generated by Webflow) to your web developer from within the editor. 

Discover more about Webflow:

6. Wix

Best for building websites for small businesses and personal use

Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder for small business websites and personal websitesWix is a drag-and-drop website builder for small business websites and personal websitesWix is a drag-and-drop website builder for small business websites and personal websites

Top features: 

  • Business and branding tools
  • Ready-to-use website templates
  • User-friendly drag-and-drop builder

Wix looks and feels a lot like Squarespace. From the helpful onboarding and setup to the visual editor interface, there’s a lot of overlap between these popular website builders.

However, Wix is a better choice for: 

  • Personal and hobbyist websites (not blogs)
  • Very small business websites
  • Business owners or freelancers who want to build their own sites

Wix does a good job of making the website-building experience feel simple and painless. Not only that, Wix has numerous tools to help even the least tech-savvy user get started. There’s the Logo Maker, Business Name Generator, Image Resizer, and Video Maker, to name a few. 

Wix also offers different website-building solutions. 

To start, users can choose to build their website with the regular editor or with the studio editor (made for agencies). Within the editor, they can then opt to design their own site, start with a template, or get help from AI. 

So if you feel intimidated by all this website technology and want something relatively affordable that simplifies the website building experience, Wix would be a good choice. Just understand that there are limitations in what you can build and what the outcomes will be.

Discover more about Wix: 

Summary

WordPress may be the most popular CMS around the world, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best solution for the website you’re building. 

Before you choose an alternative website builder, consider your goals: 

  • What is your monthly budget?
  • What do you need this website to do? 
  • What do you want this website to do?
  • Do you want your website design to look and feel like other websites?
  • Is there special functionality you need to include?
  • What other software do you need to integrate with your site?
  • Do you need blogging capabilities?
  • Are you planning to sell anything? What are you selling? And how much are you planning to sell?
  • Does SEO matter to you?
  • Are you worried about speed and uptime?
  • What about security? 

Write down your answers. Then compare them to the alternative content management systems you’re considering. Your website building technology should work for you, not against you. So finding a WordPress competitor that checks off most, if not all, of the boxes is crucial.

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